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Insert effects vs AUX/effect sends
Master Mi posted a topic in Music Composition & ProductionI got into a pretty interesting topic concerning mixing lately. There's obviously a big difference between using integrated VSTi effects and insert effects (blend original signal and effect together into a new sound) and using AUX/effect sends (adds an additional signal like just the reverb on a separate AUX bus track to the original signal). https://l2pnet.com/insert-effects-vs-send-effects-2/ 1) Integrated VSTi effects and insert effects ------------------------------------------------------- For my tracks I was used to create some MIDI stuff, add a virtual instrument or synthesizer for this track and mostly use some VSTi-integrated reverb and delay effects or some external reverb and delay VST plugin effects as an separate insert on the VST plugin slots within this track. The problem with this combination is that the original & pure sound of the VSTi/synthesizer loses its former power and blends together with the reverb/delay effects (although the reverb might be the most problematic effect in this case) into a new (and in this case less powerful, less assertive) sound. So, it 's not like "instrument + effect" - it 's much more like "instrument * effect" or "instrument x effect". With my new 3-way studio speaker system I can perceive this issue much clearer than before and I notice much better if the sound of an instrument or synthesizer gets too thin, gets lost in the reverb or shifts too much into the backround/depth of the room. It's not that you can't do it this way if you want to use some reverb in your tracks - but it doesn't seem to be the very best way of creating clean, assertive mixes on a professional production level. Nevertheless using reverb as an insert effect could be useful if you want to create a more spatial offset in depth in your soundtrack. However, it's a bit strange that I haven't got into the obviously very important topic of using AUX/effect sends for creating reverberating and highly assertive sounds at the same time - until now, after almost 5 years of music production. But after looking up a few things in my DAW manual some time ago I stumbled over this topic and tried it out. 2) AUX/effect sends ------------------------- If you want to use AUX/effect sends you have to create a new separate AUX bus track (like if you want to create an additional MIDI track in your mix - but instead you choose to create an additional AUX bus). On this AUX bus track you only use the desired effect (or even more than one effect at once - let's take a good reverb effect in this case) in one of the plugin slots and set up the plugin in the way you want to use it in your soundtrack. Several producers recommend to set up the plugin of the AUX track 100 % wet because the drier the effect gets the more it will mostly raise just the volume within the combinated interaction of VSTi/synthesizer and effect sends. Now you choose the track with the instrument or synthesizer with which you want to connect the AUX/effect send and try to set up the instrument as pure and raw as possible (especially turn off all reverb and delay effects, additional VST plugins and everything that makes the VSTi/synthesizer sound thinner, less assertive or moves the raw sound out into the room). Then you open your mixer and look for this instrument track, look for "AUX" within this instrument track and there you choose/activate the prepared AUX track with the desired effect in one of the free AUX slots. In my DAW I can draw a bar with my mouse below each of the AUX slots within the instrument tracks in the mixer view where you can regulate the volume of the additional effect send (don't worry about the volume of the instrument track, it makes no changes there - it just controls the volume of the effect sends on the AUX bus track there). So, if you play just the instrument track in solo mode afterwards you will hear the raw, unprocessed and highly assertive instrument sound. And if you play just the AUX bus track in solo mode you will just hear the separate effect of the instrument (so, just the reverb in this case). (If you turn up this AUX send effect on other instrument tracks in the mixer as well you will hear different effects (reverb from different instruments in this case) on the same AUX bus track.) With this method you can create really strong reverb effects without loosing the power and assertiveness of the raw source instrument/synthesizer. I am not quite sure how I should handle the panorama setting at the AUX bus track - I guess it would make sense to pan it the same way like the instrument. Maybe you can be a little creative there (for example if the reverb effects of two intruments who are pretty close in the mix interfere too much with each other you could take the reverb effect sends of one instrument more to the left/right side). If you plan to use an AUX/effect send on more than one instrument at the same time it could be problematic to deal with effects from different instruments at one AUX bus track with the same panorama. On the other side it will be pretty effortful, confusing and CPU/DSP-intensive to create individual AUX/effect sends for each instrument/MIDI track. And as it seems I can only put 10 different AUX/effect sends in the slots of the instrument tracks in my mixer. So, it might be useful to take the AUX/effect sends just for some instruments who really have to shine with effects (like reverb in this case) and be highly assertive at the same time (for example drums or leads). (EDIT: I could manage to create an infinite number of AUX/effect sends in my project within my DAW settings - so, technically I could create an effect send for each instrument/MIDI track.) What is your opinion about this topic and what kind of experiences do you have made with this?